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Summary

This case is a challenge by Texas and eight other states to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  DACA was created in 2012 by the Obama Administration, and it permits certain immigrants brought to the United States as children to apply, on a case-by-case basis, for temporary work authorization and relief from deportation.  Texas filed suit in 2018, after several courts ruled that the Trump Administration’s attempt to end DACA was unlawful.  It claims that DACA’s creation was procedurally improper and that DACA substantively conflicts with immigration statutes.

Just after this case was filed, a group of individual DACA recipients were allowed to be added to this case as defendants, so that they could help defend the program’s legality.  The State of New Jersey likewise intervened for the same purpose. 

Soon after filing suit, Texas asked Judge Hanen to preliminarily enjoin DACA–i.e., to issue an order prohibiting the federal government from continuing the DACA program–during the pendency of the case.  After briefing and argument, Judge Hanen denied that request on August 31, 2018, based principally on Texas’s years-long delay in bringing suit to challenge DACA.  Texas chose not to appeal that decision, and the case proceeded at the district court.

Approximately three years later, on July 16, 2021, Judge Hanen issued an opinion that resolved the case in Texas’s favor, ruling that DACA was improperly issued as a procedural matter and that it was in conflict with immigration statutes as a substantive matter.  Judge Hanen also issued an order permanently enjoining (blocking) the DACA program, but he “temporarily stayed” (paused) that injunction, pending further court order, to permit the federal government to continue processing renewal applications from individuals who had received DACA as of the date of his injunction.  The injunction prohibits the federal government from granting new applications for DACA.

In September 2021, all three sets of Defendants – the federal government, the State of New Jersey, and the group of individual DACA recipients – appealed Judge Hanen’s decision and injunction to the Fifth Circuit.  This case is closed pending resolution of those appeals.

Technical Summary

Texas alleges that DACA was required to (but did not) go through notice and comment rulemaking, in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA); that DACA is contrary to the immigration system established by the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, and should therefore be vacated under the APA; and that it violates the Take Care Clause of Article II (which requires the President to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”).  

 

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